MadFriars' Chat: John Gibbons - Part 2

SAN ANTONIO -- In the second half of our interview with San Antonio Missions' manager John Gibbons we talk about some of his top pitching prospects this year, the role of defense in evaluating pitchers and how he is enjoying his return to the minor leagues.

It must kill you with the talent that LHP Robbie Erlin has that you can't run him out there every fifth day.

John Gibbons: Oh yeah. He is not a soft tossing lefty. He can bring some heat with an effortless delivery to go along with a nice breaking ball. He is really ahead of the game for being so young especially the way his mind works when he competes.

Erlin hasn't pitched since May 12 .

He has everything going for him but he has an elbow problem right now. So we hope to get him back out there soon.

Whenever I talk to you guys you always hammer into me that its about development not really results. Is that what you are seeing with Keyvius Sampson right now?

John Gibbons: Yeah you know things aren't always going to go your way and that is what has happened with Keyvius some of this year. We have so many young guys on the team and we have all struggled at one time or another.

Keyvius has a chance to be really good but walks are killing him. He can overpower batters in the strike zone and we try to encourage him to be more aggressive there. Walks kill you in this business because it is always putting the pitcher under pressure.

If you try to make the perfect pitch, that is when you are going to get in trouble. Keyvius' stuff is that good that he can attack the zone. He has a really good fastball and change-up. His curve ball comes and goes, but its getting better. Once all three are working together consistently he will be very tough to beat.

Its tough to learn as a young kid because we are all results oriented but there are only so many things that you can control too when there are cheap base hits or there are some errors behind you.

Its important to keep your mind on the ultimate goal; to get to the big leagues and stay there.

I've always been a big fan of your closer Jeremy McBryde and his heavy sinker.

McBryde is 11 for 11 in save opportunities.

John Gibbons: Mac just gets after you. Coming into the season he was in the middle relief category. We had a few promotions and we thought he had the ability to do really well there. Since we have moved him into the closer role he has been lights out.

He has a great arm and throws strikes. He can get into trouble when he tries to overthrow which he doesn't need to do.

In the past few games I've seen the defense hasn't been that great. I know you guys value defense but how do you work on it during the season?

John Gibbons: Development is really about pitching and hitting. You have to be able to catch the ball or there is no place in the game for you. In reality you are never going to hit enough to make up for it because it kills your pitching staff.

If you make a pitcher throw more because of errors it can cost you maybe twenty-five or thirty pitches. We have to get better and we will get better.

When you start taking away hits from the other team it becomes a different ball game and makes your pitching staff so much better.

I know you are a local from San Antonio but you are also a former big league manager. Everyone in the press box talks about how genuinely happy that you seem to be here and be teaching the game.

John Gibbons: I love baseball so I love my job. Its nice to be at home after being thirty years on the road. The Padres have been great to me because they let you do your job. I have a good bunch of guys and right now losing hasn't been fun but they are also competing every day too.

I get the big picture that it is about development. You know if my team wins the Texas League championship at the age of fifty its not going to make or break my baseball career.

I just want to see these players get better so they can be moved on to the next level. That is how I hope to be evaluated.


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